Do you describe your congregation as struggling? When we struggle, openness and honesty are important. Still, honest description does not mean that our struggles define us, deplete us of energy for mission, or diminish our hope for the future ("Coming to grips with struggling congregations").
Congregations defined by what they lack or have lost risk becoming nostalgic, longing for a supposedly more glorious period in their past (which was never quite as perfect as memories recall). Moreover, when everything is evaluated according to that past, nostalgia becomes a buffer against the changing realities and the many opportunities for ministry we have today. What sets a congregation free to serve is a living memory of the past that engages God's mission today and turns it toward God's future.
Yes, today ELCA congregations and other ministries are struggling with fewer resources and are making difficult decisions about priorities. Without denying these challenges, we still can claim the opportunity to grow in generous stewardship of the life we have together in Christ.
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